Jonathan Jackson, son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, enters race for Bobby Rush’s congressional seat

Jonathan Jackson, son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, enters race for Bobby Rush’s congressional seat
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Jonathan Jackson, a son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, announced Friday his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the congressional seat being vacated when U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush retires at the end of his term.

“I have been fighting for working people my entire life and am dedicated to social and economic change,” said Jackson, a construction business owner in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood and a leader in his father’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. “As a businessman, college professor and activist, I have been on the forefront of the struggle for civil and human rights.”

Jackson, 56, enters a crowded field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in the redrawn 1st Congressional District, which stretches from the South Side and southwest suburbs down to nearly Kankakee, following Rush’s announcement earlier this month that he would retire after 30 years in Congress.

He becomes the 12th candidate to file notice of seeking the Democratic nomination in the district, joining a field that includes Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd; state Sen. Jacqueline Collins; and Karin Norington-Reaves, the head of workforce development for Chicago and Cook County, who has received Rush’s endorsement.

Jackson said in a statement he would focus on job creation and expanding access to health care and day care.

“It is time for increasing our focus on the economic issues that impact families and expanding economic opportunities,” he said. “We will spur a transformation that can bring justice and equity to our communities, creating safer environments where we can nurture our children to become tomorrow’s leaders.”

Jackson said the street he lives on was moved one block out from the 1st District boundary under the state’s new congressional redistricting map. While members of Congress are not required to live in the district they represent, he said he plans to move into the district.

If elected, Jackson would become the second child of the Rev. Jackson and wife Jacqueline to be elected to Congress.

Eldest son Jesse Jackson Jr. served from 1995 to 2012 from the neighboring 2nd Congressional District. Under investigation for misuse of campaign funds, he resigned in November 2012 citing health problems. He pleaded guilty to wire and mail fraud in February 2013 and was released from prison in March 2015.

Jonathan Jackson said a formal campaign kickoff announcement was planned for early February.

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